Amish Simplicity, Italian Abundance (Mar 16, 2013)
It was a rainy day in Leola, Pennsylvannia but we still saw a buggy or two along the highways – and across the fields, an indomitable Amish farmer plowing his fields behind his team of huge mules inspite of the steady drizzle.
My host Jerry took me on an area driving tour of Amish country – including a stop to see the quilts – before we headed home to cook. Table all set, wife Cathy was busy in the kitchen setting up for the arrival of our cooking guests.
Cooking space small, but hosts’ hearts big – and our dinner came together quickly as guests paired up to chat, laugh and slice, dice, stir, mix, and chop together. Not everyone cooked: some just chatted in the living room. After my introductory talk, I like to let the guests know, “Those who wish to join me in cooking, let us cook! Those opting to simply enjoy the company, sip the wine, and taste the bruschetta will still join in the feast!”
These classes are about connecting over food and some connect while cooking together. All connect in conversation during dinner together at an Italian pace: first, the antipastos (hors d’oeuvres), then the pasta, then the main course, followed by side dishes..and on to the dolce (dessert). The Amish way of life emulates simplicity, family ties, the pace of the past. There is a connection here to these small-group dinners of Umbrian rural cuisine: simple flavors, shared with family and friends. Slowly.
Thanks to each of you for sharing in the abundant goodness with such enthusiasm. Mille grazie, Cathy and Jerry, for welcoming me to your home in the heart of the Amish country. I loved waking up the next morning to the “clop, clop, clop” of horses’ hooves in the street outside as carriages rolled by. (Cathy, your photos of the Amish countryside are even more wonderful – mille grazie.)
Jerry, your note entices me to come back:
“Homecoming. Enjoy even simpler times and places in Penn Dutch country. Go Amish!” Jerry K
Ann, so good to talk to you about your Amish ancestry – and I wish to know more! I am grateful for your note:
“I was born in Intercourse, PA, born Amish. Your cooking is wonderful – and so are you!” Ann S
…and here are comments from Jerry and Cathy’s wonderful guests:
“We have had a great time! An informative introduction and overview of the menu with explanation of recipes. The chaos of people chopping, mixing in a small kitchen. Lots of fun. Magnifico! Every course was delicious!” Neal
“…a spectacular meal and a wonderful evening of camaraderie and education.” Laura D
“Thank you for a wonderful night of great food” Paula (and Paula, thanks for sharing your Italian family’s story with me)
“As I sit between two Italian women, I realize my potency for wine, women and song. Great food, great friends.” Dusty L
“What a wonderful evening! Felt just like being in Italia! The food was amazing and the conversation and friendship, the best!” Lennie